Public Health and Primary CareClinical Practice

Management of Ionizing Radiation Injuries and Illnesses, Part 1: Physics, Radiation Protection, and Radiation Instrumentation

Doran M. Christensen, DO; Mark S. Jenkins, MS, PhD; Stephen L. Sugarman, MS; and Erik S. Glassman, EMT-P, MS
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: October 12, 2012

Accepted: January 11, 2013

Published: March 1, 2014

J Osteopath Med; 114(3): 189-199

Ionizing radiation injuries and illnesses are exceedingly rare; therefore, most physicians have never managed such conditions. When confronted with a possible radiation injury or illness, most physicians must seek specialty consultation. Protection of responders, health care workers, and patients is an absolute priority for the delivery of medical care. Management of ionizing radiation injuries and illnesses, as well as radiation protection, requires a basic understanding of physics. Also, to provide a greater measure of safety when working with radioactive materials, instrumentation for detection and identification of radiation is needed. Because any health care professional could face a radiation emergency, it is imperative that all institutions have emergency response plans in place before an incident occurs. The present article is an introduction to basic physics, ionizing radiation, radiation protection, and radiation instrumentation, and it provides a basis for management of the consequences of a radiologic or nuclear incident.

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